The EU’s Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy – one year after its adoption

Since the adoption of its new human rights policy last year, the European Union has been developing instruments and strategies to give this important policy substance. Work has been undertaken to devise new guidelines (consultation has been conducted with civil society over guidelines on freedom of religion and belief), human rights focal points have been nominated in EU delegations, and the process for developing local human rights country strategies in third countries has begun (though has not yet been made public), amongst other things.

However, further effort has yet to be made, especially on issues highlighted by FIDH as being important achievements in the new policy, but also significant challenges.1 Two commitments in particular require concerted action: firstly, the commitment to use EU human rights policy instruments (dialogues, guidelines, incentive sanctions, human rights clauses, impact assessments, etc.) in a strategic fashion to better serve human rights progress; and second, the undertaking to integrate human rights into all EU policies and actions, such as its cooperation on counter-terrorism, on business, migration, development aid and trade.

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